ML1GEC-Greats of European Cinema

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof Julia Waters


Type of module:

Summary module description:
The aim of this module is to provide students with an understanding of the ways in which European Cinema articulated the experience of the individual within the changing political, social and cultural climate of the twentieth century. The course is designed to introduce students to key features of film analysis and to develop their ability to apply them to the films studied.

Since its origins in the late nineteenth century, cinema has occupied a central place in the cultures of France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The aim of this module is to introduce students to the history, main developments and key achievements of European cinema, through the study of a selection of major films from these countries, and so to enhance students' understanding of the broader cultural contexts in which they were produced. The course aims to acquaint students with key concepts of film analysis and to develop their ability to apply these to the films studied.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the course, it is expected that students will be able to:
•demonstrate a clear understanding of the films studied
•analyse in detail the cinematic language of the films studied
•compare and contrast the different directors' use of such cinematic language
•situate the films studied in the broader context of the development of European cinema
•engage critically with ideas presented in lectures, group discussions and secondary materials
•demonstrate an ability to integrate theoretical ideas with evidence from the films
•organise and articulate a coherent written argument under timed examination conditions

Additional outcomes:
This module also aims to encourage the development of:
•oral communication skills
•pair/group discussion and presentation skills
•research skills, including scholarly information retrieval (using secondary works, the internet and film databases)

Outline content:
•Introduction to the history of, and major developments in, French, German, Italian and Spanish cinema
•Introduction to the basic language and theory of film
•Application of technical, aesthetic and theoretical concepts to stills, sequences or the entirety of the films studied
•Critical analysis of a selection of landmark films by key European film directors such as: Jean Renoir and Jean-Luc Godard (France); Fritz Land and Tom Tykwer (Germany); Vittorio De Sica and Mario Monicello (Italy); Guillermo del Toro and Pedro Almodóvar (Spain).

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

There will be twenty weekly two-hour sessions of lecture, film screenings and group work in the Autumn and Spring Terms. A two-hour revision class will also be scheduled in the Summer Term. Within each session, students will be expected to listen to information given in lecture format, to watch sequences from films, to engage in group/pair work on these sequences, and to present their ideas to the whole class. Such group/pair work is designed to prepare students for the course assessment. Students may also undertake an academic placement, through which they will learn how to apply the knowledge and skills gained in studying for this module in a professional context outside the University.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 20 2
Guided independent study: 53 53 52
Total hours by term 73 73 54
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 40
Set exercise 60

Summative assessment- Examinations:
Two hours

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The coursework mark will be made up of four Blackboard-based, multiple choice tests, two each term (15% each).

Students will also take a two-hour examination at the end of the course (40%). They will be required to answer two equally-weighted questions: one commentary on a choice of stills from the films studied, and one comparative essay question. The two questions must be on different films.

One piece of assessment worth no more than 50% of the module mark can be replaced by a report produced after an academic placement. The placement must be agreed in advance by the module convenor; the length of the report is to be equivalent to standard departmental practice for coursework. 

Formative assessment methods:

The weekly two-hour class format comprises of plenty of interactive group discussion, student presentations and class participation, so that students can practise and improve the analytical skills that will then be assessed via commentaries, online tests and examination. Students will be expected to give one group presentation each term, on which feedback and an indicative grade will be given.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Reassessment in August, in the event of failure in this module and of failure in Part 1 as a whole, or (for compulsory modules only) of failure to qualify in Part 1. Coursework for reassessment must be resubmitted by 12 NOON on the third Friday of August or, if the University is closed on the third Friday of August, by 12 NOON on the first working day thereafter.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    You are advised to buy your own DVDs of the set films, so that you can view them multiple times and analyse them in depth. These should all be available in affordable versions. Alternatively, you might want to share the cost with a friend or friends. Otherwise, the Library is well stocked with secondary sources, none of which is compulsory reading.

    Last updated: 25 June 2019


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